The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 14 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501214-TC-MAC-01; CL 25: 306-307


Chelsea, 14 decr 1850—

My dear Mother,

John wrote to us not long ago of your being well and all being well; for which, as for his constant attention in that matter, we are much indebted to him: I want now to get another Note from him, as well as to tell you how we ourselves are; so I write today before going out. Our weather here is very gentle in temperature, accompanied with a liberal share of mists and mud,—which I suppose will mean, for you in Annandale, great quantities of rain. We imagine these don't suit you quite so ill as harsh frost; and will hope therefore that you are still moving about in something like your usual way. You do not venture out, I suppose, except on a rare day when the weather is favourable; but you keep stirring, I doubt not, within doors, and never fall lazy,—which was always a merit of my good Mother's since the very first discovery of her! Jenny too is with you, or was lately; which would keep the house livelier. With all your rains, too, you have the satisfaction of seeing the sky now and then; which we here, in this season, are often deprived of for a course of days, nothing but a dark blanket of smoky fog being spread over all Nature for us.— We hold up in health very handsomely; Jane has taken no cold yet, goes out in some omnibus whenever the day is not quite wretched; I hear nothing lately of her hurt, and believe it is getting well, tho' she does not seem to like any speech about it. I myself am decidedly better than when I wrote last: I come and go as very slight accidents direct;—have in fact nothing wrong about me, except an incurably squeamish liver and stomach, which disease however is capable of standing instead of many! I generally go out for an hour's walking before bedtime again; the little snaffle of a messin called “Nero” commonly goes with me, runs snuffling into every hole, or pirrs about by my side like a little glarry rat (delighted by a mere nothing); and returns home the joyfullest and dirtiest little dog one need wish to see. He was given away to A. Sterling some weeks ago,—somewhat to my satisfaction;—but made moyen [the means], on his first call afterwards, to be taken back, and reinstated in all his rights,—the wretched messin that he is;—and so eats bones as formerly.

We are very quiet at this season for most part; and I often think of trying some Book again, which is the only amends I can get of this bad world and its ill-usage of me at all. I suppose we must come to that by and by: but “Gude guide us to, Sawny; I think he's stiff to the rise, man!”1 Dreadfully stiff indeed, poor old spavined garron!

I got lately a Crookshank's Histy of the Church of Scotland for you;2 but it is not come home yet: indeed it was but a poor copy, and I begin to fear the print of it will be too dim for you. “No Popery” is still loud enough in these parts; and it is confidently expected these Pasteboard “Cardinals,” and their rotten garments, will be packed out of this Island, in some way. “Ultimus CREPITUS Diaboli [The Devil's Last FART],” as Beza said of the Jesuits!3 (Jack will explain that energetic expression to those that can stand it!)— — Jean lately wrote about an eligible House, some 4 miles from Dumfries; “Cullivat” I think she called it. Such things tempt me much; and yet, and yet!— I will write soon again, dear Mother; to Jamie or some of you;—the Doctor to write! Ever your affectionate / T. Carlyle